We open with an overhead shot of what appears to be a scene straight out of Apocalypse Now, complete with Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" playing in the background as helicopters crash and grenades explode. At first glance it looks like we're in for a real, live war movie. But of course, we're not. Because this film has Ben Stiller and Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr. So, duh, it is clearly a parody. Each one of them plays an archetypal actorly type -- Stiller (and his talking marmot-enrobed pecs) is the action dude; RDJ, whom we discover is a white actor who undergoes a controversial procedure so that he can play a black guy, is the pretentious "actor's actor"; and Black is the obnoxious, attention-craving comedian.
Tropic Thunder is your typical meta screwball comedy -- actors in a jungle filming a movie about being prisoners of war and then, in their pursuit of true Method acting, actually being taken captive by guerilla warriors. Aside from the one-liners, the aforementioned talking marmot pecs, the presence of my own personal crush Steve Coogan and the enduring radness of RDJ, there is the unadulterated pleasure of watching actors playing actors, thereby giving themselves over entirely to poking fun at themselves, their craft and their industry. And to top it off, they get their asses kicked by guerilla warriors. It's like Little Dieter Needs To Fly, if that shit had been funny instead of hugely disturbing. In other words, a must-see!